The Baltimore Bandits have made official the fact that Virginia businessman Michael A. Caggiano has assumed the interests of former team owners Bob Teck and Alan Gertner, but the transfer of the first-year franchise still hasn't received final approval of the American Hockey League.
"While no deal is final until the league [governors] and Anaheim approve it," Caggiano said yesterday, "I am confident that both parties will be happy with the results of their [background check]. I expect their approval in the near future."
AHL commissioner Dave Andrews said Monday that the league will "quicken the process," but it could take as much as a week or 10 days.
Since Caggiano had already taken over day-to-day operations of the financially distressed team last Sunday, he got the commissioner to agree that yesterday's announcement be made.
Besides assuring that the team would remain in Baltimore, the prospective owner said, "this franchise needs a new start and I'm here to provide that start. [Teck and Gertner] made good decisions and bad decisions. When you're starting a new team, all the decisions have to be good. I hope and am confident we can do that."
Caggiano said he was glad to "pick up the team three-quarters of the way through the season, because it will give us the opportunity to tinker with things and begin to make improvements where needed.
"We'll also get the chance to work with the fans and various holders of ticket plans to get their input and figure out how we can serve them better."
The team's financial problems under Teck and Gertner include unpaid debts of $500,000 to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, the Bandits' NHL parent club, and $100,000 to the AHL, the first annual installment of the $1 million franchise fee, sources said.
"The Bandits needed capital and leadership with the right management touch," said Caggiano, who is bringing in auditors today to begin restructuring the operation. "I've been studying the team from every conceivable angle for three weeks. I had been looking into getting into pro hockey for some time."
Aware of the fact that a constant subject of concern for local winter sports teams is the allocation of dates by the Baltimore Arena and Capital Management, he said, "I've already looked at the first pass on next year's AHL schedule and can say it's already better than this year's; and, we have a six-month head start on what they had this year so we'll have to be better."
Caggiano, 35, is a former minor-league baseball team owner (the Prince William Cannons of the Carolina League, 1987-90), whose success in business commenced in 1985. He first formed a company called Key Financial Group, which was sold to Robert Half International, a Fortune 500 service firm in the personnel placement field.
While serving as Mid-Atlantic president of Robert Half and managing offices in Baltimore, Washington, Richmond and Norfolk, he started the Washington Accountant, an industry magazine for accounting professionals. He is currently chairman of Falcon Advisors Inc., a venture capital and consulting firm based in McLean, Va. He holds positions on several service, educational and charitable association boards and is an avid golfer.
Caggiano said: "I know Baltimore well from childhood up, having been born here, lived on White Avenue and having gone to St. Dominic's School on Harford Road." He earned a bachelor of science degree in accounting from Virginia Tech.